Reds news: Seven undrafted college pitchers signed to contracts

The Reds signed several right-handed college pitchers over the past few days.

Every major league team, including the Cincinnati Reds, has up to $20,000 in signing bonus to offer to players that were not drafted last week. These undrafted free agents, represented mostly by college seniors, were hurt by the league forgoing its usual 40 rounds of the MLB Draft and settling for just five. So, who did the Reds pick up thus far?

According to Baseball America, the Reds have been busy stocking up on right-handed college arms. Cincinnati has signed seven college pitchers, two infield prospects and an outfielder. Unless you follow college baseball closely, you’re unlikely to know many, if any of the players that the Reds have signed.

Jacob Hurtubise, an outfielder for Army, might be the most significant of the Cincinnati signings to this point. Hurtubise was chosen by the Seattle Mariners in the 39th round of last year’s draft, only the 14th player in the academy’s history to be drafted. In 2019, Hurtubise’s .541 on-base percentage was second in Division-1 baseball.

Hurtubise was the preseason Patriot League Player of the Year and brings speed and defense. Hurtubise is the all-time leader in Patriot League history with 105 stolen bases. He didn’t hit well to begin the shortened college baseball season (.235 batting average), though he did play in only five games.

While Hurtubise may be the biggest name thus far, the Reds also snagged a ton of hurlers. James Proctor (Princeton), Carson Spiers (Clemson), Leo Nierenberg (Washington), Braxton Roxby (Pittsburgh-Johnsontown), Steve Branch (Rochester Tech), Tyler Keysor (Miami) and Brett Lockwood (Kansas State) all signs with the Cincinnati Reds.

According to the Poughkeepsie Journal, Branche, a pitcher at the Rochester Institute of Technology, had to choose between the Reds and the San Francisco Giants. Branche was 1-0 during his two starts this spring with 17 strikeouts and a 1.50 ERA.

Lockwood didn’t allow a single earned run in five relief appearances this spring. Nierenberg was also flawless through four appearances during the pandemic-shortened 2020 college baseball season. Spiers was 3-0 with 0.00 ERA in nine appearances for Clemson this season after saving 11 games for the Tigers in 2019.

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If even one of these signings is a hit, it will be a fantastic success for the Cincinnati Reds. During the five rounds of this year’s draft, the Reds landed three pitchers, two outfielders and a catcher. Look for Cincinnati to continue adding players over the next several days, as some big names still exist on the open market.

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